“Wait for it…”

How long before the people of Cuba overthrow Raul or whatever junta succeeds Fidel?

Fidel rose to power as he overthrew the president, Fulgencio Bautista.  And, sadly, as so often happens, Bautista had been our bitch.  He seriously harmed the people of Cuba and so did our east-coast mafia.

Fidel pledged democracy, so we stood idly-by while he overthrew our bitch.  But soon, Fidel reneged and went Communist, and that’s when all this embargo and bad blood stuff between us began.

And all this a resonance of something more than half-a-century earlier:  our Spanish/American War:  an evil chapter in our history that set us on the road to our present state of “Superpower” global meddling and getting lots of people– including lots of young Americans — killed.

All that to say, if the succession is popularly overthrown, that doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of socialism will make the Cuban people our good buddies.

For specific example, the Cuban-expat community in Florida might be surprised if it isn’t exactly embraced by the people of a post-socialist Cuba.


Last Chance Lost

The forces of the Third Reich threw away their last chance for survival, let-alone victory, in the USSR, 73 years ago today.

Through a winter-frozen mix of fatigue, apathy, and totalitarian vanity, the command of the Wehrmacht 6th Army– a quarter-million men– on 19 December 1942 rejected an order to try to break through their complete encirclement by the Red Army.  The Soviets’ circular-siege was anchored in northern Stalingrad.

The 6th Army command disobeyed the breakout order even though another formidable Nazi force had struggled at great cost to try to help 6th Army.  The 57th Panzer Corps, commanded by the gifted Colonel General Hermann “Papa” Hoth, had fought its way to Stalingrad’s southern exurbs, not-far from the Soviets’ circular-siege of the 6th Army.

Hoth’s mission was, from the outside, to smash into the Soviets’ siege-circle at the same time and place 6th Army was to smash out-of the siege-circle.  Thus the Nazi high command in the USSR anticipated a corridor through a ruptured siege-circle.  Through the corridor, much if not most of 6th Army would escape.

But it was not to be, because of a Nazi decision.

Because of this disobedience by command of a Nazi Army:  the huge loss of all Nazi strategic-initiative in the USSR.  From 19 December 1942– in the larger, strategic,
view– Nazi forces in the USSR effectively were walking backward.

flour mill volgograd pub
The flour mill atop the West-bank Volga-River bluffs, above the main landing stages for Soviet forces, in the center of the former Stalingrad. September 2015.
© Landis McGauhey 2015



© Landis McGauhey 2015

Semper Memento

The folly of aggression on spectacular display. With this infamous, treacherous aggression, Imperial Japan accomplished no more than sowing the seeds of her own destruction.
Public Domain courtesy USN
Shaw was a destroyer (USN DD-373). About three years before the infamous attack. Public Domain courtesy Library of Congress.


Independence Day?

From a letter said to have been written to his wife by John Adams, member of the Continental Congress that ratified the Declaration of Independence, and thereby signatory of the Declaration of Independence:

The Second [emphasis mine] Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.  I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Why today the fourth day of July celebrated as Independence Day?  Why the discrepancy?

The reason is found in but one word:  technology.

With the state-of-the-art of printing technology, it took two days to print, publish and distribute the declaration (no, “delcarationofindependence.org”!).  Thus, the Declaration publicly-premiered on July 4, and so Independence Day is recognized on July 4.

© Landis McGauhey

Can One Person Make a Difference?

Today reflects essential and eternal change of the nature of the United States of America.

Today, 152-years-ago, battle between the Army of the United States and the army of rebellious southern states was joined.  The battle lasted “only” four days.  It happened near an anonymous village in the center of a big rural spread in the center of a big rural northern state.  Battle was joined by happenstance.  Neither side planned it.  The battle was a thing of its own being.  It spun out-of-control of the plans and strategies of the commanders on either side.  The battle was  a terrible flame that rose and fell on its own.  It was by-far one of the most horrible and costly battles in American history.

But when those four days passed, the outcome of the American Civil War was decided.

That outcome had to await two more years of the horror of war, the horror of blood shed by gallons countless.  Nonetheless, that outcome had been decided:  in the spring of 1865, the rebellion forever was crushed.

Thus, two essentials of the United States were forever changed:

  1. The Union of all states forever was writ large, and underscored, and
  2. The nation established forever the goal of equality for all:  in the wake of the war and the assassination of a president, slavery was abolished.  This was by amendment of the Constitution less than one year after the death of the rebellion.

One-hundred-fifty-two years on, to reach that goal, the United States, unfortunately, yet has a long way to go.  We may stray.  We may regress.  We may never reach the goal.

At least the goal is written– in blood– in our Constitution.

Oh!  I almost forgot.  One person who might make a difference?  Watch this space…

© Landis McGauhey